Statement by the Department of State on the Export of Arms to Spain, August 22, 1936

Following is the text of a letter which was addressed to an American manufacturer in response to an inquiry with regard to the policy of this Government concerning the exportation of arms and ammunition to Spain. Similar replies have been made to other oral inquiries on the same subject.

"In reply to your inquiry, I beg to say that the attitude and policy of this Government relative to the question of intervention in the affairs of other sovereign nations has been well known especially since the conclusion of the Montevideo Treaty of 1933.

"For your further information, I enclose a copy of a circular telegraphic instruction which was recently sent to certain consular representatives in Europe and which has not been made public up to the present.

"I desire to call especial attention to the reference therein to our neutrality laws and to the fact that they have no application in the present Spanish situation, since they apply only in the event of war between or among nations.

"Furthermore, I invite your attention with equal force to the reference, in the same circular instruction, to this Government's well established policy of non-interference with internal affairs in other countries, as well as to the statement that this Government will, of course, scrupulously refrain from any interference whatsoever in the unfortunate Spanish situation. At the same time the Department expressed the opinion that American citizens, both at home and abroad, are patriotically observing this recognized American policy

"In view of the above, it seems reasonable to assume that the sale of aeroplanes, regarding which you inquire, would not follow the spirit of the Government's policy.

"Very truly yours,

Acting Secretary of State"

Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 329.

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